tv The Chris Matthews Show NBC February 10, 2013 4:30pm-5:00pm PST
more. so what's "more" mean to president obama and will he present an optimistic view of our union as most presidents have? >> i can report to you that the state of this old but youthful union is good. >> i'm pleased to report the state of our union is stronger than a year ago and growing stronger each day. >> my fellow americans, the state of our union is strong. >> tonight the state of our union is strong and together we will make it stronger. chris: or maybe they'll shake things up as president ford did in a bad economy. >> i've got bad news. and i don't expect much, if any, applause. i must say to you that the state of the union is not good. chris: joe, you think the president will talk optimistically about the country or do what gerald ford did? >> what a bummer. i remember that.
yeah, i think that the president really feels that the state of the union is stronger for several reasons, one is that he's been winning ever since the election. and he seems to have a working majority now. even in the house. but, also, i think that despite the last quarter of g.d.p. nongrowth, that things are looking pretty good for the economy. chris: that's always a question because you look at the stock market and things are up 13,000 and the job situation is stuck below eight. a jobless recovery, how do you brag about that? >> he has to address that and has to talk about what he hasn't been talking about because he's been talking about gun control and immigration and all the rest. he's got to talk about we're at the precipice right now and either we go in the right direction or we get this recovery going stronger or we go in the wrong direction and we go to the automatic spending cuts and the economy starts falling off the cliff again. i think that's the choice he's going to present to the american people. chris: let's talk tactics and
politics. marco rubio has been designated as the republica respondent, right, because it's smart because he's the hot hand. immigration jumps right out at him. he's cuban american and talked to the issue. will the president stick it to him and say i'm going to be good on immigration, you'll have to handle the issue. >> i think he's going to make immigration one of the issues he talks about in the state of the union. the state of the union is good but here are the things we need to do. he'll talk about immigration reform, he'll talk about climate change. he's going to certainly talk about bringing the troops home from the war. i think he'll announce the number of troops that will be withdrawn. but the marco rubio question gets to whether obama can get out of the zero sum game in washington. where to do something good on immigration reform, he's got to, you know, destroy marco rubio who is the republican symbol of progress on that. and i'm looking to see whether he can lift his game beyond where he was in his inaugural address and really speak to the people who didn't vote for him as well as the people who did and have a platform for really
doing something. chris: i agree but he also faces the need to play again. we happen have an expert on defense, elisabeth bumiller, who writes the front page stuff. he'll talk about his plan to close tax loopholes to close the march 1 across the board cuts known as sequester under civilian program cuts there would be a broad reach. a 10% cut in the f.a.a. would go delaying air traffic. food inspectors slowing food production, head start, customs, embassy security, cuts in all those programs. under defense cuts, even the republican senator john mccain projects a million jobs lost, a 1/3 in active duty and active military people in uniform and 2/3 in support jobs and would shrink ships and troops and intelligence gathering and troop inspection. >> the pentagon pulled out all stops and panetta, the defense secretary, started putting out these dire numbers, 800,000 civilian jobs at the pentagon furloughed, 20% cut in pay
after he gave a very angry speech at georgetown university, within hours the panic, they put out there will only be one aircraft carrier in the persian gulf and is a big issue for the republicans. >> there's not enough, is there? >> there's been two there the past two years. chris: again, the president wants to go big picture and talk big picture and he's confronted with this. >> it's a big issue for the house republicans because there's a big division there. you've got some of the tea party conservatives saying you know what, this is the best we'll get on cuts so we're going to eat the defense cuts because the cuts are shared across the board. and there are lots of republicans, i believe, including the house speaker, who don't believe that. chris: you believe there's enough republicans who are not far right. >> it's not going to happen and i think that this gets us back to the main theme of the state of the union address. the way the president moves the country forward and relates to people's fears is that he says budget deficits aren't nearly -- they're important but not nearly as important as getting the economy growing now.
and that's what i want to do. chris: i'll get back to what you said, david. there is a great chance to get the american people's attention. if he makes an appeal, let's get beyond the zero sum, backettey-back bickering in washington and get some stuff done this year. can he put the republican right, i guess you have to call it the republican right, in a corner? >> if he continues this theme which i think led to his success on the fiscal cliff negotiations, which is to make the republicans the party of no at a time when americans want government to work. and i think that's the way he needs to set it up. i didn't think he did that well in his inaugural address but i think he has another chance here, and if he can make it seem as if, you know, resisting him on finding an alternative to sequestration is being the party of no, the party of the wreckers, i think he's got him in a corner. >> i think if he does go over their heads in congress, which is what he's trying to do on
every issue, taking a page from ronald reagan's playbook, i think he can succeed. >> i think what is going to be immigration and gun control is big themes in the inaugural and think those will be the headlines. he traditionally always focused much more on domestic issues, especially at this point. chris: but on the defense stuff, if this country has to suffer a huge cut in manpower, a huge cut in force levels, it seems like it will weaken him politically. >> panetta said furloughing 800,000 civilians will have an impact on the economy, a lot of people. >> jason clapper said our ability to monitor terrorist threats coming at us through intelligence programs will be reduced if sequestering goes forward. when people hear that they'll flip. chris: if we get hit in the midst of a sequestration. >> can you imagine if the congressional budget game -- >> it's not going to happen. chris: gloria, how do we cut
embassy security? >> we don't. chris: after what happened with gaddafi. >> we don't. >> it's already hitting because there is an aircraft carrier sitting in forefolk, virginia, right now that was -- in norfolk, virginia, right now that was supposed to be deployed but didn't. chris: are we going to have big cuts or not? >> kicked down the road. won't happen. >> kicked down the road. >> panetta is counting on congress to do the right thing. >> kicked down the road but there will be more dire warnings and more aircraft carriers suddenly sent to port before we get a deal. chris: it's time to send out our valentine's, the big day this thursday is coming up quick. if you're looking for inspiration in your family and your couple, we have some here. how about letters from some of our romantic presidents to their true loves. there are many, all the way back to george washington. here's one from teddy roosevelt to his adored first wife alice, who died young. sweetest little wife, i think all the time of my little laughing, teasing beauty, how pretty she is and how she goes to sleep in my arms and i can
almost cry. love you so. ronald reagan to nancy reagan. i'm not whole without you. you're life itself to me. i'm waiting for you to return so i can start living again. and george herbert walker bush, the first president bush to barbara, you give me joy few men know. i've climbed perhaps the highest mountain in the world but even that can't hold a candle to being barbara's husband. beautiful letters but how about this for a valentine's day from hell. this is one our mischievous producers dug up, the valentine's ad monica lewinsky placed in "the washington post" newspaper. a year before their affair became known. how is that? a year later in late january 1998, the scandal broke and that valentine's day, "saturday night live" played up this one. >> today's valentine's day, white house spokesman said the president and mrs. clinton will honor the holiday by observing a moment of silence. expected to last the entire evening. chris: and when we come back,
>> the administration also puts forward a false choice between the liberties we cherish and the security we provide. >> i will provide our intelligence and law enforcement agencies with the tools they need to track and take out the terrorists without undermining our constitution and our freedom. chris: boy, he's gotten older, hasn't he? that was president obama as a candidate in 2007, running hard against the legacy of the bush-cheney foreign policy. at issue now today the 700% rampup of drone strikes under obama. there have been 350 under obama, largely in pakistan. a key question is blowback, no one knows how many untargeted civilians have been killed by
drone strikes or the damage to winning hearts and mind over there. the effect of blowback is a central theme in the television series "homeland" where the main character goes from captured marine to terrorist himself when the son of his kaptur in iraq is killed by a thrown. they watch the american vice president on tv together after that drone strike. >> the images being broadcast on some outlets around the world are the bodies of 83 dead children, allegedly killed in the strike. we believe to be false. created by the terrorists for propaganda purposes. >> and they call us terrorists. chris: they call us terrorists there. david, there's the question, i guess, maybe not the most important question but we're all asking right now. collateral damage. people killed in these drone strikes who are innocent and how much that causes hatred to this country. >> everyone who really follows the drone program carefully says that the level of collateral damage is smaller than with any corresponding weapon system that you could think of.
that doesn't mean that there's none. but i think that's not the issue. i think the issue that president obama has been confronting, i have referred to him sometimes as the covert commander in chief because he's so comfortable and tough in using these covert tools that the question he faces is how do you take this program, as he said to a socialist, i didn't get elected president to kill people but turns out that's part of my job. how does he find rules for a legal framework for himself, for his c.i. dreaktor john brennan and for future -- c.i.a. director john brennan and for future directors. what happened this week was the rules began to become public. and i think that that has been a very valuable debate because it will provide a platform for us and every other country. chris: what was the reaction by the pentagon the fact we have rules already. the rules are it has to be imminent attack, the person has to be involved in imminent
strikes against the united states, and we can't bring him or her to trial and they do have protocols. >> there's a lot of murkiness within an attack. it's a very murky definition, and what defines an imminent attack. i wanted to talk about class value damage which is civilian casualties and i think, yes, the drones do save american lives but there's a lot of -- there's a lot of civilian casualties and they're not as accurate all the time as the pentagon or c.i.a. says. we heard a story this week about a very brave cleric in yemen who stood up in his mosque and denounced al qaeda, two days later some al qaeda guys come to visit him and they're arguing outside and they're incinerated in the drone attack. one of these guys was on the u.s. side. so not only is class value damage but also creates a -- collateral damage but also creates a lot of resentment. >> families and children killed, especially in northern pakistan but families and
children of terrorists. and so, you know, i don't know that it's gotten much farther beyond that. >> brennan was asked this week about -- by senator wideman. what do we do if we make a mistake? and the c.i.a. director was quick to respond and said, we need to make that public, unlike -- >> i think the real problem here is that this has been an executive branch operation. what they're now doing is opening it up to the appropriate people in the congress because the more eyeballs you have on the policy, maybe there should be a court, as dianne feinstein suggests but you demystify it. chris: when you're commander in chief, you have three options, start a war, put in an army to get the bad guys or use an elite team, a seal team, for example, to go in at a great risk to them and aggravation to the host country like pakistan or use the drones? how many opposites you -- how
many options you got here? >> you put your finger on the biggest problem. the drones have become an addictive way for the united states to project power. you're not putting boots on the ground and you're 10,000 feet overhead. one important thing about the hearings is they're setting limits, as we move from this theater over the tribal areas of pakistan where they weren't good options and you couldn't put boots on the ground and we had this weapon and was very effective. should that weapon now move to other battlefields? should it move bigtime to yemen or somali or mali or libya, go down the list? i think people are really raising questions. >> they're part of this growing disconnect between the american public. and the concern has been they would make it much easier to get involved in a war. and as we have seen, yemen, somalia, perhaps mali, pakistan. chris: a great debate. american shoes always debate.
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violence by veterans and it's very important that the public unders that the vast majority of veterans coming home are assets, not liabilities. >> senate democrats getting together, coming up with a plan within the next few weeks. and they're going to -- they have three proposals, one for these months to kick it down the road, one for seven months and one for 10 months. all of the plans include taxes. chris: tell me something i don't know. when are they going to vote? how are they going to vote? seven months seems like what they'll vote. >> i think seven months will be the most likely but down the road. chris: they go for the middle. >> chuck hagel went through some very tumultuous confirmation hearings for defense secretary which he hasn't been confirmed yet, hasn't even been voted out of the armed services committee. but leon panetta is having him say goodbye to his employees tuesday, this coming week. he's planning on getting out of there. he can stay after the goodbye but it's a big -- chris: to vote next week. >> interesting footnote on the debate whether to arm the
syrian rebels. we now know last summer the c.i.a. director petraeus, secretary of state clinton denouncing secretary defense panetta and the joint chiefs said yeah, let's do it. in the fall after it was turned down, they red-teamed it to see what the effect would have been and their conclusion was it would not have been decisive if the u.s. had followed that program of arming rebels in part because the rebels already have so many weapons anyway, that's not their problem. chris: one thing i like about that story, it tells who makes the decisions. >> the reason it's happening -- chris: the president -- >> i'm ending two wars, why do i want to get in another one? >> the reason it's interesting is when you talk about the president and his relationship with hillary clinton, none of that leaked? she has been so loyal to this president. that could have leaked earlier. chris: it's out there now. once again, a position well to the right of the president. smart move for her. running in 2016, being to the
right of this president is where you want to be. it's the sweet spot. don't think she doesn't know it. >> it's the most closely held foreign policy since nixon and kissinger except for the fact there's no kissinger. chris: when we come back, the big question of the week. look at these two cover boys, marco rubio and chris christie, are they the leading [ female announcer ] the best thing about this bar
chris: welcome back. joe's "time" magazine has marco rubio on the cover this week, calling him a republican save your. -- republican savior. chris christie and rubio are considered the leading republicans. who is ahead now, joe? >> jeb bush. chris: i knew you'd say that. gloria? >> paul ryan. chris: you're just playing this up. what game are you playing? paul ryan? come on. >> i think marco rubio is a
very attractive candidate. chris: paul, take it back. paul ryan. >> he's staying in the house. chris: we read the same stuff. >> he wants to be speaker of the house. chris: that's a good scoop. >> these guys are overexposed and i think the next attention goes to jeb bush and somebody else gets a turn. >> if chris christie is talking about losing weight, he is serious. >> no, i think he is the guy that can shoot the lights out. we saw that at the end of the 2012 campaign. you can argue barack obama got re-elected. chris: does he need to change his act a little bit back from none of your business or is that going to work for him? >> he needs to show the country his intellect which is formidable, in addition to that kind of new jersey toughness. >> my favorite race, joe biden, chris christie. wouldn't that be great? chris: a lot of jersey in both guys. thanks to our great roundtable, joe klein, gloria borger, elisabeth bumiller, and david ignatius. never forget these predictions. that's the show. thanks for watching. see you back here next week.
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streets. we'll have a live report. los angeles leaders are offering a million-dollar reward for christopher dorner. businesses, unions, government agencies and the police have pledged to help pay it. meantime police continue to work overtime to try to help the community and officers and their families who could be targets. >> there are over 50 lapd officers that have not only security but surveillance in their neighborhoods. these 50 lapd families are targets of dorner's and are likely, likely victims. >> he went on to say the reward is so large because dorner is